Yet Another Question Of Fair Use With A Picture Of Obama

from the just-can't-get-away-from-it dept

We all know about the ongoing legal fight over Shepard Fairey's iconic Obama poster, but it looks like there may be another potential battle over a different photo. After the election last year, Time Magazine published a bunch of photos of Obama in college, taken by a fellow student Lisa Jack, that had never been seen outside of a small group of people. One of the photos, showed Obama smoking a cigarette. It's probably not a huge surprise that a marijuana legalization group, NORML, has modified the image to create a poster. You can see the two juxtaposed here:



Not surprisingly, Jack is not at all happy about the use of the photo, leading to yet another set of questions about fair use:
"They do not have my permission," said Jack, a psychology professor in Minnesota. These photos "are absolutely not to be used in this way. ... I really made a grand effort to do this properly, and I'm very irritated. If I'd wanted these to be used for political purposes, I'd have sold them to Hillary years ago."
Now, of course you can appreciate her feelings on this, in that she doesn't want her photo used this way, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's not legal. And, even though it's buried at the end of the article, Jack later admits that "it's really cool" that her image is considered "iconic" enough to use in that manner. The real question is whether or not Jack will actually do anything about this. Copyright law is not designed to be used to stifle speech (especially political speech), but we could soon see yet another fair use battle over a famous Obama image.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    If this continues, artists should just continue to make original works. May I suggest these priceless pieces of Obama, made with acrylics on canvass?

    If there is no inspiration, the mind can run wild. Lacey is genius!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Will, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    Could you please warn people that they will be seeing a painting of Obama naked from clicking that link? I'm at work now and came very close to getting in trouble.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Korrosive, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    I second that. I was expecting to see funny caricatures, and almost choked trying to close out of the site.

    >

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:23am

    He looks soooooo stoned.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    icon
    senshikaze (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:26am

    'Cause I got high, 'cause I got high...

    Am I the only one now humming that song?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Because_I_Got_High

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    Where do you people work that this is questionable (unless its on taste grounds.)

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    Thats what i was thinking, I even went back to look at them again maybe they work at a church?

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:35am

    Work.. who needs work?

    I think its funny how many people read this blog while at work (including myself)... iGoogle anyone?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    zaven (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:38am

    Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    I like the one with Stalin.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Vic, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:01am

    Re: Work.. who needs work?

    Me too!

    And yes, I have found this site through iGoogle!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:10am

    Re: Re: Work.. who needs work?

    I found this website by asking this guy. He said "Hhahahalpmeeeeee", which obviously translates to "Techdirt.com" in the peanut butter dialect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Work.. who needs work?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    I'm thinking it must be the naked backside, which neither offends nor excites me. YMMV.

    Still, weird that someone was able to make that call.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    This is the age of tolerance and the zero tolerance policy. Many work places ban anything that might be construed as anything. Then they hope not to get sued by employees who saw another employee looking at the banned sites/content.

    Just another product of the US legal system.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re: Work.. who needs work?

    @Vic

    Glad to see I'm not the only slacker.

    If you use Firefox, may I suggest getting CoolPreview. Has options to view a page's "preview" in any work-related web page and can be resized to be inconspicuous & positioned to be blend in to the web site.

    in regards to the post.. not sure i would like to see my own pic used by some organization i had not ties to, but i suppose once you step into politics you're fair game.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Ryan, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Work.. who needs work?

    I think you're actually fair game the moment you step into public.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Korrosive, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 2:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Scared of Copyright? Need new inspiration? Take a hint from Painter Lacey!

    At a software development shop. Anyone viewing this at work (whatever that work setting might be) must be in a position where no one else can view their screen. The image (first one I saw on the page) does not come close to offending me, but in work places all that is needed is a hint of impropriety to get you in a whole load of trouble.

     

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  18.  
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    Money Mike (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Work.. who needs work?

    Yeah, but it's the photographer who's upset. She didn't step into politics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 3:49pm

    Where is the CwF + RtB 'Smoke a Doobie with Mike' option?

    Yes We Cannabis!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Actually, Jack is only a very small part of the game - the real offended party is Obama. His image is being used to promote a cause that he may or may not agree with, and unfairly associates him with it.

    One quick flick of a lawyers pen out of the whitehouse is all it would take to get this piece of stupidity quashed.

     

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  21.  
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    ToySouljah (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Hmmm

    lol...Well, Obama did say he did smoke cannabis quite frequently when he was younger (maybe during the days the photo was taken?) and yes...he did inhale...that's the point. I loved when I heard that :) I'm a member of NORML and so I guess I am a bit bias too the matter, but it was all in fun trying to show that cannabis does not make you a loser. Hell, there is even an 8 time Gold Medalist in the ranks of smokers along with some of the the worlds greatest thinkers. Although, I was a bit upset that Phelps apologized since he didn't do anything wrong and deserved to have a little relaxation and fun time. I guess all the pictures of Obama drinking are ok...even if it is a more dangerous drug....but at least it's legal lmao. Again, I do not advocate smoking marijuana (inhalation of burnt carbons is not very healthy), but there's always vaporizers and cooking :)

    Also, wouldn't the picture be considered parody? Kind of like the cartoons in Hustler of politicians that some of which do resemble some stock photos that have been edited.

     

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  22.  
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    toyotabedzrock (profile), Aug 8th, 2009 @ 11:43am

    Not fair use

    Perhaps in these borderline cases that contain a photo of a person it would be best to ask said person?

    I think that this photo is not fair use, they only gave the photo a slight tint and then put it in a border.

    Basically it took someone all of 5 min, probably less if they are good with photoshop, and they used almost the entire original image unmodified, except for a green tint and a wisp of smoke that was pasted on top.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    THE JOKER, Aug 9th, 2009 @ 4:28pm

    AHAHAHAAMMMMHUUUHUHUHUAAA

    well well well we finally came to a point in history that you are called a racist if you appose someones candidacy


    this is the truth and you will soon see the true face of this .GOV nothing more than a soap and you are the star aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahaha


    why so serious,............because you are close minded and simple

    why so racist because you really dont know the true meaning

    why so scared because what they want to do to you all is so (Historical) that your simple,racist, serious mind cant handle it..............or you never attended social studies

    THE JOKERZ

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Pete Austin, Aug 10th, 2009 @ 2:21am

    Humor/parody/satire, not political.

    @everyone who warned link is NSFW: thanks guys!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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